Virtual infrastructure systems Monitoring “thoroughly and at low cost”
QTNet supports initiative of Miyazaki Prefectural Government Office
QTNet supports all aspects of Miyazaki Prefectural Government Office system’s migration to virtualized infrastructure
Trends such as virtualization and cloud services are also reaching the systems of local self-governing bodies. Miyazaki Prefecture is at the forefront of this movement. From 2014, it has started to migrate to the “Miyazaki Prefecture Server Integration Infrastructure”, a private cloud service using server virtualization technology.
Previously, Miyazaki Prefecture had used various systems for each of its divisions, such as human resources and financial affairs. The number of systems increased year on year, eventually exceeding 200 systems. Significant cost was incurred every time hardware was renewed, and space was also a problem.
The solution that presented itself was server integration by means of virtualization. Taking as an opportunity an impending system renewal, Miyazaki Prefecture decided on a policy of integrating these systems using server virtualization technology and gradually migrating to a new system that would be flexible and low-cost. Migration to a private cloud service is proceeding according to a five-year plan, starting from June 2014.
Kyushu Telecommunication Network Co., Inc. (QTNet), a telecommunications business belonging to the Kyushu Electric Power Group, is taking responsibility for infrastructure construction, migration and operation. As well as providing the “BBIQ” Internet connection service for individuals and various services designed for businesses, QTNet has also provided various services oriented towards local self-governing bodies. One such service is the optical fiber network known as “Miyazaki Information Highway 21”, which links all of the municipalities within Miyazaki Prefecture. Building on such experiences and achievements, QTNet is providing a low-cost and stable integrated infrastructure through cooperation with the design of Kyushu Electric Power Group companies and local Miyazaki-based companies, and ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation.
Mr. Katsuaki Kozu
IT basic technology section System development 1 division at Densan Software Co.,Ltd.
Mr. Toshiyuki Munakata
Operating Officer and Head of the Corporate Sales Department at Kyushu Telecommunication Network Co., Inc.
Necessary monitoring at low cost
In the application of the Miyazaki Prefecture server integration infrastructure, QTNet used “Zabbix” as its monitoring solution. Zabbix 2.2 is used to provide monitoring of the operational status of the server groups and network devices that form this integrated infrastructure, with monitoring data always available to be checked via a portal.
Monitoring is an important aspect of virtual infrastructure just as it is with physical servers. Mr. Katsuaki Kozu, IT basic technology section System development 1 division at Densan Software Co.,Ltd. states: “We organize things by making duplicates or triplicates of systems using virtualization technology so that there is no problem even if one system drops out. We have use Zabbix to prepared a setup that quickly grasps and escalates any occurrence.”
There were various alternative monitoring tools, including software for business use, but Zabbix was top of the list as it satisfied Miyazaki Prefecture’s requirements and could facilitate cost reduction. “It wasn’t down to whether the software was open source or not, but rather it was a question of finding software that would satisfy the monitoring requirements,” says Mr. Toshiyuki Munakata, Operating Officer and Head of the Corporate Sales Department at Kyushu Telecommunication Network Co., Inc. (QTNet).
According to Mr. Kozu, “Among software for business use, there are some that provide elaborate functions where notification of the malfunction of specific machines is given by flashing LED, but for the Miyazaki Prefecture server integration infrastructure there is no need for such deep functions. Zabbix adequately plays the basic role of thorough system monitoring, including virtualized environments and network devices, acquisition of logs, reception of SNMP traps, and support for stable operation.”
According to Mr. Baba, one of the main reasons why QTNet noticed Zabbix was “cost reduction”. Compared with business software, where agents are required for each monitored host and cost increases in proportion to the number of monitored hosts, Zabbix is open source and the software itself is free of charge, resulting in an anticipated cost reduction of up to 25%.
However, support is essential for monitoring of important systems, including mission-critical systems. Responsibility for this aspect is being taken by Kyuden Business Solutions Co.,Inc., a Zabbix Certified Partner. Mr. Takashi Otsuka, Manager of the System Application Management Department at Kyuden Business Solutions Co.,Inc., explains: “At the time of installation, we provided templates reflecting past expertise and lectures regarding configuration.” Mr. Kozu also values the support provided after application, saying: “When we asked ‘Can you do this?’, Kyuden Business Solutions Co.,Inc. smoothly replied based on their accumulated expertise, saying ‘It can be doing if we combine this and this’.”
Mr. Koji Baba
Head of the Solution Support Group Division under the Corporate Sales Department at Kyushu Telecommunication Network
Mr. Takashi Otsuka
Manager of the System Application Management Department at Kyuden Business Solutions Co.,Inc.
Optimization of virtualized infrastructure with resource monitoring
From June 2014, Miyazaki Prefecture has gradually started integrating a virtual environment. During FY 2014, of its 70 systems and around 300 servers, the Prefecture plans to migrate 23 systems 53 servers to the Miyazaki Prefecture integrated infrastructure.
From accepting order of Miyazaki prefecture server integration through to the start of actual application took just 3 to 4 months. During this short period of time, a temporary virtual environment was constructed and migration work began. QTNet used Zabbix Appliance in order to provide appropriate monitoring during that time. In the actual environment, Zabbix is constructed on a virtual server and provides monitoring of the entire server integration infrastructure.
Going forwards, there are also plans to use Zabbix Appliance for monitoring of backup sites located at data centers outside the Prefecture for the purpose of disaster recovery.
One of the advantages of virtualization is cost reduction by bringing resources together, but it is also essential to carry out monitoring in order to determine whether or not resource distribution is being optimized. QTNet monitors both the resources of VMWare ESXi, which is the basis of the virtualized infrastructure, and the resources assigned to guest OS operating thereon. Mr. Katsuaki Kozu explains: “We are concentrating on ways of maximizing the accommodation efficiency of virtual servers. While looking at the state of resource consumption, we also sometimes request that temporarily assigned memory and CPU be restored depending on the situation.”
Advantages unique to open source software, as well as portal customization
Mr. Koji Baba, Head of the Solution Support Group Division under the Corporate Sales Department at Kyushu Telecommunication Network (QTNet), says that clients also highly values the support for so-called multi-tenant environments and the ability to configure and operate monitoring requirements to match the various different requirements of each section. Mr. Baba says that there is also a real sense of the excellent customizable properties that are unique to open source software: “Customized portals are prepared for each section, and even people who do not have in-depth knowledge can ascertain what each part of the system is doing.”
The project for migration to the Miyazaki Prefecture Server Integration Infrastructure is still in its early stages. More and more systems will be migrated to this integrated infrastructure over the next five years. Mr. Baba says, “The Miyazaki Prefectural Government Office itself is showing an attitude of positive engagement with advanced technology. We have learned that it important to take the first step and not be afraid of open source software, especially given the support that is available.” It will be worth keeping an eye on this project.
1 Zabbix Server (1 more Zabbix Server will be at backup site in the future)
Redundancy : HA on Virtual environment HA configuration
Number of monitored devices: 130（as of December 2014）, more than 1,000 in the future
Number of triggers: 450（as of December 2014）, more than 4,000 in the future
Number of item: 580（as of December 2014）, more than 5,000 in the future
Zabbix Server H/W Spec （on VMware ESX virtual server）
HDD: 1.0TB（use 250GB）
（as of December 2014）
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